Earlier this week, as I ‘helped’ (watched) my husband to create our Halloween pumpkin (this fantastic toothy-grinning umpkin below), I started thinking about how the tradition of carving a pumpkin into a spooky face came about. I was surprised to discover that it is a British tradition, and originally it would have been turnips or beets that would have been carved to celebrate the Gaelic festival of Samhain (31 October–1 November).
I’d always thought that Halloween was a very American tradition (probably because they seem to celebrate Hallowen in a much bigger way in the US than here in the UK) so it was an eye-opener to discover that the initial carving idea came from Britain, although using pumpkins for the ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ is certainly an American addition to the tradition.
I am always surprised by the amazing faces and images that people are able to carve into their pumpkins – whenever I give it a try, anything more than a child-standard smiley face ends up falling apart! Here’s some of my favourite crazy pumpkin carvings, and I dare you to give them a go this Halloween: